By Tom Nissley

Oh my gosh! A new thriller playing at TheaterWorks Hartford has had me spinning and will have you spinning too. It’s called “Tryst,” by Karoline Leach, and it takes place in a corner of London in the early nineteenth century. George Love (Mark Shanahan) is a con man whose specialty is marrying introverted young women and then taking their funds and leaving town. He spies Adelaide Pinchin (Andrea Maulella) putting a hat in the window of the shop where she works -- always in the back room -- so he spins his yarn. “You’re lovely, so refined looking, can I see you again, can we have lunch...?” And we’re off to the races.


George and Adelaide do get married, he does leave her in the lurch, but before she has done with us, Ms. Leach has taken us through a lot of scary learning about what on earth would prepare either Adelaide or George to “fall in love,” no matter how insincere it is on George’s part, and to make such a rich fantasy out of a brief meeting they have both been waiting to have. George was searching for his next target, using a well-rehearsed process. Adelaide was searching for a life that exists only in the imagination, unless one makes some big changes in an unhappy routine. And bingo, there they were, together.


A great deal of humor is included in the dialogues, and both Ms. Maulella and Mr. Shanahan are very fine actors, making each moment alive and easy to follow in the fast moving piece. It is directed by Joe Brancato. This team of three has been performing the play for a period of years, with the same wonderful sets by Michael Schweikardt, grand costumes by Alejo Vietti, lighting by Martin E. Vreeland, and sound by Johnna Doty. It works particularly well in the intimate setting at TheaterWorks Hartford.


“Tryst” is playing there through September 9. Reservations at, or by calling 860-527-7838. I recommend it highly.


 Tom Nissley, for the Ridgelea Reports on Theatre


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